Harry Robinson - Coyote Tricks Owl.docx

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Published on 3 Jun 2014
School
UTSG
Department
Woodsworth College Courses
Course
WDW101Y1
Professor
Harry Robinson - Coyote Tricks Owl
Robinson
Stories and storytelling were critical to Robinson
Born in 1900 in BC – viewed himself as one of the last storytellers of his people
As a child spent much time with his elders and grew skilled telling stories in the
Okanogan language as well as English
Ethnographer Wendy Wickwire met Robinson and with his permission began
recording the stories of his people – Robinson viewed that once he passed away
the stories would disappear and they needed to be preserved – What were the
stories’ place in an electronic age?
Robinson and Wickwire worked on together to represent oral storytelling in a
written form
3 anthologies published
How does telling a story out loud differ from writing it down?
Robinson viewed that once he passed away the stories would disappear and they
needed to be preserved
Must factor in that Wickwire was not Okanogan and Robinson realized non
Okanogan people would read the stories
Some words remain un-translated or sounded out phonetically
Un-translated words signifies that part of the telling is in-translatable and some of
it is therefore lost
Coyote Tricks Owl
Un-translated words signifies that part of the telling is in-translatable and some of
it is therefore lost
How does telling a story out loud differ from writing it down?
oOne thing that changes – Oral stories are fluid and can change due to
audience or over time or stress – Written versions are static
Layout of Coyote Tricks Owl - Lots of white space, looks almost like a free verse
poem, lots of repetitions of lines
oOral repetition ensures that we understand what is important
Nuances of speech can often be lost in rewritings – regularizing syntax and
repressing the repetition
oThis story tries to preserve this, including grammar choices on purpose
Feel more like speech than writing
Story conveys the intimacy of storytelling – Pauses, repetition
oIntimacy in the story by saying things like ‘you know, and interrupts story
to connect with the reader
Storyteller has power to control and manipulate the narrative
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